No Sweat

WHEN WORK BECOMES A DIRTY WORD

In the Satyricon, a Roman novel written sometime around AD 60 (probably at the court of the emperor Nero), there’s a telling scene. Three con artists who are, awkwardly, too hard-up to own a slave are paying a man to haul their luggage on a journey. But he doesn’t turn out to be enthusiastic about the careless use they make of him:

“Do you think you’ve hired a beast of burden or a barge for hauling rocks?” he asked. “It’s a human being you’ve got...

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About the Author

Sarah Ruden’s most recent book is Paul Among the People (Image Books). She has translated four books of classical literature (among them the Aeneid) and is the author of Other Places, a book of poetry. She is a visiting scholar at Wesleyan University and lives with her husband in Middleton, Connecticut.